After Labour MP David Lammy appeared before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday and correctly identified the world as being round, many out there on the right, in both politics and the media, have been getting terribly worked up about the idea of the Tories having far-right links. One of those getting worked up, although doing it in a restrained and gentlemanly way, you understand, is Jacob Rees Mogg.
The Moggster, who was in Lammy’s firing line over his liking for the pronouncements of politicians representing German far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), has sniffily Tweeted “I feel sorry for Mr Lammy, comparing a Parliamentary ginger group with an organisation and creed that killed six million Jewish people makes him look foolish and his comments unbalanced. It damages his reputation”.
Reputation. That’ a most interesting choice of words, and a potentially unfortunate one for Rees Mogg. Let us consider the effect on his own reputation of his occasionally unfortunate choices of association, which include rather more of the far-right than the AfD.
For instance, the Member for times long past first made a name for himself in this area when he turned up at a gathering of the Traditional Britain Group alongside phoney toff Gregory “Lauder” Frost, who claims to have been born in Mayfair, but in reality entered this world at a Salvation Army maternity hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales.
Frost’s speeches to TBG include one on “Immigration and repatriation”. One TBG favourite, Sam Swerling, was a member of the BNP for five years. The group’s Twitter feed described the Duchess of Sussex as a “Mulatto”. It is a cesspit of racist bigotry.
You'll have to speak up, I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff
No matter, perhaps this was an isolated lapse by the Moggster. Except it wasn’t, as his liking for AfD material shows. That party’s MEPs include Beatrix von Storch, a grand-daughter of Hitler’s finance minister, Lutz von Krosigk. Rees Mogg should know about her from his pal Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who was invited by her to speak at an AfD rally held not at Nuremberg, but Spandau, near where Rudolf Hess spent his last years.
Ms von Storch has been a member of Farage’s group in the European parliament since being expelled from the more mainstream European Conservatives and Reformists Group in April 2016, following comments in which she called on European border guards to use firearms to deter illegal immigrants, including women and children. She later described the comments as a ‘tactical mistake’”. Also, she is not a racialist but, and this is a big but.
Could it get worse for Rees Mogg? It certainly could: he willingly met with Steve Bannon, a white supremacist. As the Guardian later reported, “The meetings took place on the day of the diplomatic spat between Trump and Theresa May, after the US president retweeted anti-Muslim material from the far-right fringe group Britain First. Rees-Mogg confirmed the encounter, saying Bannon was ‘an interesting man to have met’”.
Moreover, the ERG isn’t a mere “ginger group”. It is a convocation of hardline right-wingers hell-bent on ripping the UK out of the EU for the benefit of hedge fund investors, US Pharma and Agribusiness, and most importantly Themselves Personally Now.
Jacob Rees Mogg’s far-right associations show David Lammy was right. That is all.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at